November 2019

Time to Attach: Providing Equitable Support for Adoptive, Kin and Customary Care Families in Their First Year

11:30am-1:30pm | Fairmont Château Laurier - 1 Rideau St., Ottawa

Families formed through adoption, kin and customary care need time to form attachment, which is the basis of strong family bonds and healthy child development.

Currently, adoptive families are not eligible for a full year of standard parental leave and kin and customary care families are not eligible for any protected parental leave unless they pursue a formal adoption.

Join the adoptive, kin and customary care community as they shed light on the unique dynamics of family making and the importance of protected parental leave to ensuring that these families have time to attach.

- Lunch will be served -

Member price:
Individual seat: $89 +HST
Table (seats 10): $800 +HST
Regular price:
Individual seat: $110 +HST
Table (seats 10): $990 +HST

- For information about accessibility, please email jacqui@economicclub.ca
- Dietary restriction notes and meal requests must be submitted to jacqui@economicclub.ca 72 hrs in advance.
- Refunds/credits: We require three business days notice in advance of the event date for ticket cancellations.

*The views expressed on the Economic Club platform are not that of the Economic Club or its affiliates but of the speakers alone and the organizations they represent*

Time to Attach: Providing Equitable Support for Adoptive, Kin and Customary Care Families in Their First Year

Jessica Van der veer

Youth advocate and older child adoptee

 Jessica Van der veer

After growing up in the child welfare system, Jessica was adopted at 6 years of age. At age 12, she began to advocate with the Ontario Provincial Advocates Office, the Adoption Council of Ontario and the Adoption Council of Canada. She is a strong supporter for children and youth currently living in the child welfare system and believes strongly in supporting and educating adoptive families. She has always believed that an additional 15 week attachment leave would allow parent(s) a longer time to bond to their children and the children to bond to their parents.

Carolyn McLeod

Professor & Chair
Department of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario

Carolyn McLeod

Carolyn McLeod is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. She is also an adoptive parent and former Chair of the Board of Directors of Adopt4life: Ontario’s Adoptive Parents Association.
Carolyn's expertise as a philosopher lies in applied ethics and feminist ethics. Much of her research concerns public policy matters that deal with the creation or dissolution of families with children. She has been directly involved in policy-making and public debate in Canada on topics that concern her research, including the right of health care professionals to make conscientious objections, public funding for in vitro fertilization, and improvements to our adoption systems. She is editor of Family-Making: Contemporary Ethical Challenges (Oxford 2015) and author of the forthcoming Conscience in Reproductive Health Care: Prioritizing Patient Interests (Oxford 2020). She also led the research team that produced the report, “Time to Attach: An Argument in Favour of EI Attachment Benefits”.

Cathy Murphy

Executive Director/Directrice générale
Adoption Council of Canada/Conseil d'adoption du Canada

Cathy Murphy

Cathy has over 30 years experience in social services and child welfare. Cathy has worked at the Ottawa Children's Aid Society, Children's Integration Support Services, Algonquin College's Early Childhood Education Department, The Children's Bridge Adoption Agency and most recently as the Executive Director at the Adoption Council of Canada.

Cathy is a strong advocate for adoptive families, adoptees, birth parents and children and youth in the child welfare system. Cathy advocates for permanency for every child and youth in Canada through customary care, kinship care, legal guardianship and adoption. To help ensure permanency, Cathy advocates for post adoption supports and services they require to be resilient families.
(pictured with Tabitha McDonald and Alisha Bowie of the ACC).

Irwin Elman

Former Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

Irwin Elman

In October 2007, the Ontario Child Advocate (the Advocate’s Office) was established with the passage of Bill 165 by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. On July 14th, 2008, an all-party panel appointed Irwin Elman as the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth to provide leadership to the Advocate’s Office – the first independent office of its kind in Ontario – to amplify the voices of children and youth in its mandate.

Until April 30, 2019, the Advocate’s Office worked to make sure young people knew their rights, their opinions were taken into account in matters that concerned them and their voices were heard. The Office’s advocacy aimed to ensure young people were at the centre of all services provided to them and decisions made about them.

Drawing on the strength of young people, the Advocate’s Office worked to fill the gap between what government, service providers and policy-makers intend, and the reality experienced by some of the most vulnerable children and youth in Ontario.

Irwin brings an extensive background as an educator, counsellor, youth worker, program manager, policy developer and child and youth advocate to the position –borrowing from the courage and hope of the young people he served to create innovative approaches for others in Ontario, Jamaica, Hungary and Japan. Prior to becoming the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, Irwin was the Manager of the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre in Toronto (PARC), an award-winning organization that supports young people as they leave child welfare care, for more than 20 years. He later served as the Director of Client Service at Central Toronto Youth Services, a children’s mental health centre.

Irwin obtained his Master of Education and Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Honours) in political science from Carleton University. He received an Honorary Degree from Guelph-Humber University.

Recently Irwin received the “Janus Korczak Award” from the Janus Korczak Association of Canada. He was made an “Honorary Member” of the Canadian Pediatric Society. He received the “Advocate of the Year” from the North American Adoption Council. He was awarded the “Stand Up For Kids Award” by the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada.

Irwin currently resides in Toronto with his wife and two young sons.

Julie Despaties

Founder and Executive Director
Adopt4Life - Ontario's Adoptive Parents Association

Julie Despaties

Julie’s commitment to supporting permanency for children and youth in families grew from her own adoption journey. After she and her husband adopted a sibling group of three older children, Julie soon realized that adoptive (and kin and customary care) families in Ontario would benefit from more resources, advocacy and community connections. In forming Adopt4Life – Ontario’s Adoptive Parents’ Association, Julie created a unified voice and invaluable peer network for adoptive parents and permanent caregivers.
Julie has been a passionate advocate in the non-profit sector, for more than 20 years. Along with the Adopt4Life team, she has formed collaborative relationships with Children’s Aid Society agencies across the province, as well as with organizational partners, including the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, Office of the Children’s Lawyer and the Adoption Council of Canada.
A changemaker at heart, Julie has helped shape legislation designed to strengthen the child welfare system to better protect some of Ontario’s most vulnerable young people. She participated in the work of the Motherisk Commission, advocating for the adoptive families impacted.

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